Arsene Wenger has defended Mesut Ozil by saying that the German midfielder works much harder than people think.
Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil was heavily criticized after his poor display during Man City game last week. Arsene Wenger has come out to defend his player, saying that Ozil works much harder than people think.
The 28-year-old has really struggled in terms of contributions made to the team as compared to previous seasons. But Wenger says Ozil is very much dedicated to the team and even labeled him as a big player.
Wenger said, “It’s very difficult for me to come out on an individual – I have a debrief with the players themselves.”
“To be absolutely fair I did not hear or listen to all the criticism we got after the game, but we have to accept that and live with that,” said Wenger. “People analyze and have their opinion, it’s normal and we have to respond. Mesut Ozil is a big player, and the big players always respond to criticism on the pitch.”
“I don’t give him any leeway when the team doesn’t have possession. He has to do his job like anyone else. His main strengths are when we have the ball, and he suffers more when we don’t have the ball.”
“He suffered more at City because we didn’t have enough of the ball. But unfortunately, if you want the ball you have to win it back.”
“He is a guy who works much harder than people think, his body language goes against him at times.”
“It’s true we do tend to win the ball back high up the pitch, but where we had a deficit at City was winning the ball in the middle of the pitch.”
Arsenal has lost two consecutive games for the first time this season. This has definitely decreased the positivity that Arsenal has generated so far in this season. But Wenger admits that his players will bounce back from the defeats and expects them to respond quickly.
Arsenal will be playing West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day at Emirates and Wenger confirmed Arsenal will train on Christmas Day.
“We will practice and that night we go to the hotel to prepare,” said Wenger of Arsenal’s Christmas Day plans.
“Like every manager, I suffer when we don’t win the game. In your mind, you have the next game, and we know it’s a game of big importance, so we cannot simply switch off, it’s impossible.”